MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade’s mail-in ballots will be in your mailbox soon if you requested one, and when voters get a look at them, they will find more than just the races that are making the most headlines.

“The majority of voters in Miami-Dade County are going to be receiving a 2-page ballot, front, and back,” said Supervisor of Elections Christina White.

Aside from voting for president, there are 4 races for US Representatives, along with 3 state senate seats up for grabs and 11 state rep contests.

There are also 6 judicial questions — asking if you want to retain one Florida Supreme Court Justice and 5 State court of appeals judges.

“These retention elections as they’re called are important,” explains History & Politics Prof. Charles Zelden from Nova Southeastern University.

“They’re a chance to say, ‘I think this judge did a good job or bad job.’ Unfortunately, most of us do not know who these judges are,” he said.

Zelden explains the importance of knowing what and who is on the ballot from top to bottom, paying close attention to state and local races.

“These people affect your lives more than the president does, on a daily basis and if you don’t focus on the local races, you’ll get the government you deserve and if you don’t care, you get the government that doesn’t care for you.”

And there are big county-wide contests, like the race for Miami-Dade County mayor, 4 county commission seats, 3 spots on the school board as well as the clerk of courts.

Down ballot from there — 7 seats for local development districts, along with 6 constitutional amendments and 3 county referendums.

If you are not familiar with everything on the ballot, Miami-Dade supervisor of Elections Christina White has a suggestion, “You can print the same ballot from our website, do your research fill it out, and bring it with you to the polls. We’re also mailing a sample ballot to all households in Miami-Dade County,” White said.

When you become familiar with your ballot, it allows you to accurately make your wishes known — to make sure you vote for the people and issues you believe in. “One of the problems we have is a lot of people leave down-ballot races blank and that’s a shame because they really do affect your lives,” Zelden said.

To look up your specific Miami-Dade ballot, click here.

The deadline to request a vote-by-mail ballot is 5 p.m. October 24th

Vote-by-mail ballots must be received by your county supervisor of Elections by 7 p.m. on Election Day.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 24 – SATURDAY OCTOBER 31: Early voting

Early in-person voting starts as many as 15 days before Election Day though the number of days and locations vary by county.

MIAMI-DADE: Early voting runs from Monday, Oct. 19 – Sunday, Nov. 1. There are 33 locations which will be open from 7am – 7pm.  All early voting locations will also have official ballot drop boxes for anyone who would like to drop off their vote-by-mail ballots instead of mailing them. Click here for a list of early voting locations in Miami-Dade.

BROWARD: Early voting runs from Monday, Oct. 19 – Sunday, Nov. 1.  There are 22 locations which will be open from 7am – 7pm.  All early voting locations in Broward will have official ballot drop boxes for vote-by-mail ballots.   Click here for a list of early voting locations in Broward.

MONROE: Early voting runs from Monday, Oct. 19 – Saturday, Oct. 31. There are 5 locations which will be open from 830am – 5pm. All locations will have official ballot drop boxes for vote-by-mail ballots. Click here for a list of early voting locations in Monroe.

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 3 – Election Day

If you vote in person on Election Day, you will need a photo ID with your signature. If you don’t have ID, you will be able to vote a provisional ballot. Your ballot will count if the signature on your ballot matches the signature on your voter registration record.

Ted Scouten

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